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Reading Our Minds: the Rise of Big Data Psychiatry

My first book will come out in April 2021!

What, exactly, is psychiatry? How do psychiatrists diagnose a patient’s mental disorders? The mental status exam is the bedrock of psychiatric clinical assessment, and it begins with, “Can you help me understand what’s going on?” But the mental status exam relies on a patient’s self-reporting and and a doctor’s subjective judgment. What modern psychiatry needs is sensors, numbers, and algorithms. Our brain function, facial expression, sleep pattern, online behavior, and geolocation can tell us a lot, just as doctors use their automated sphygmomanometer to measure blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygenation level to successfully predict heart disease. Lab results, blood tests, and physical exam measures heralded the Big Data approach to medicine decades ago. It is time that psychiatry undergoes the same transformation.

Many thanks to Columbia Global Reports for taking on the project. I further appreciate my editors–Jimmy So and Nick Lehman–for their help throughout the process. Also thanks to Camille McDuffie and Elise Caraveo for keeping me afloat as I flew, trained, ferried, and drove to meet with the people you’ll meet in this book.

It was a lot of fun to research and write.

You can pre-order “Reading Our Minds” on Amazon:

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